Cats. What can I say about these enigmatic creatures that is fresh and new? My earliest memories are of soft tabby fur and a purr that reverberated through the walls. Cats do not occupy all my time. I don’t write about them. My sister and I have said for years that I should write a book about cats; what can I say in a blog post?
They may not occupy that much space in my conscious mind but they are as pervasive as air in the history of my world. They have always been present and without air we gasp and die. I’ve spent my whole life living in close communion with cats.
The cat will treat you as you treat them. If you want an animal that will largely look after itself and share your home without demanding much of your life the cat will oblige you. If you worship the ground that they walk upon they will treat you like a god.
I have always treated my cats like close family members. Puff Mae treated me like her own kitten and I treated her as another mother. I learned the location of every little hiding-hole in our home before I could run. I perfected my “run all the way around the room without touching the floor” with such success that as a skinny two-year-old I broke the coffee table. My mother could not understand my explanation for why I had run across the top. “Why would you run across the table?” “I had to Puff Mae was leading me and teaching me.” “What?” “I can already crawl all around the room behind the furniture without your having seeing me. Now I need to learn how to go around the room without having to put my feet on the floor.” “Are you playing cat games?”, she finally guessed. “They’re games. Didn’t you play them when you were little?” “No. Petesie and I cuddled and had tea parties. He was a really good cat.” “You missed a lot, Mommy” “Just stay off the tables.” “But I’ll never make it around the room.”” You are not a cat. You can’t jump as far and you won’t fit. Stay off the tables. Try tea parties.”
Puff Mae was superb at raising little girls. She cooperated with wearing endless clothes but my mother insisted that I not pull doll bonnets down tight on her head and I must never tie (read knot) the bonnet strings. It would be uncomfortable for her ears. She sat, rode, and sprawled in every piece of doll furniture without complaint and even drank water from doll bottles. If I squeezed too fast the water ran into her mouth faster than she could drink and some ran out the other side and down her chin. She would turn her head if I didn’t pour the water in slow enough to drink. They only time she was ever put-out by my high jinks was when I put a “magic ” bottle in her mouth. When she saw what looked like milk decreasing in the bottle, but couldn’t feel any liquid in her mouth she literally jumped out of the doll high-chair and would have nothing to do with that bottle again. Her patience set the course for my life.
As an adult I have treated my cats as if they were my “natural “kittens and they have treated me like the mother. I always have a cat with me in the house. My own cat, Rose follows me around and comes running with my dog to greet me when I come home. They want to be a part of all that I do. Writing bores my cats, so they regard it as more-or-less nap time. The writing is more if they are sleepy and less if they are not tired.
Each of my cats has had very unique personality. They have all been very intelligent and had definite individual interests. Rose loves to spend time in the kitchen with me when I cook. She knows that she must remain on the floor or the chair. For her it is a time when she has me mainly to herself. She follows me around the room and listens to me as I do my version of a cooking show host for her benefit. My “fur kids” don’t get to eat human food as it is not healthy for them. Rose doesn’t sample the food she “helps” me prepare. The only exception comes in a tiny taste of roast chicken when I am putting the leftovers away. She loves roast chicken so much that she sits and watches it while it roasts. I’m careful to leave the oven light on since she happily waits in front of the oven window. The way she sniffs the air as it cooks is adorable. The look in her eye as she quietly waits by the oven tells me clearly that having my attention and roast chicken is pure bliss to a cat.